SAN FRANCISCO, CA — Uber wants its drivers to help stop sex trafficking, an enduring problem that has prompted activists to press workers on the front lines of the travel industry to alert authorities if they see it happening.
Over the past few years, Uber has enlisted its drivers in local and regional efforts to help fight human trafficking of adults and minors. But the new initiative, which begins Monday, at the end of Human Trafficking Awareness Month, targets all 750,000 active U.S. drivers and eventually will expand to other countries.
“This is a global problem that affects all our cities and communities, and we realized our drivers are uniquely positioned to make an impact,” Tracey Breeden, a former police officer who spearheaded the program as Uber’s Global Safety Communications lead, tells USA TODAY.
Breeden says the expansion of the program to foreign markets will take time because “we have to make it fit each country, with its own unique hotlines and support organizations, but that’s definitely our goal.”
Among Uber’s partners in the U.S. initiative are The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, anti-trafficking tech company Thorn, and The McCain Institute for International Leadership, whose efforts to battle human trafficking are led by Cindy McCain, the wife of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).